Packing up our Home

We did it! We actually did it! We packed up our home of 20 years!
What a lot of STUFF !
Some we donated. Some we tried to donate, but nobody wanted it. This made its way to the garbage pile – from where the kind people who rent from us will take it to the rubbish heaps. Thank you Jean!
We were still left with “toooooo maaatch”  stuff. Everything we wanted to keep for three years were put into a large container on our property. “Put” doesn’t begin to describe the packing and re-packing and shoving and re-packing that went into that process. I honestly think that it could be very dangerous to open that container again. When Frans showed our brother-in-law the container, he remarked that: “We really are going to do this! We have passed the point of no-return. There is no way that I’m unpacking that thing!”

Funsail1Frans playing Tetris to fit everything in.DSC_0003


I always had this idea that packing up would mean the house would look neater. It was just the opposite! It is as if you take the skin off and the insides show. All the intestines and secrets come out. Things you just didn’t want to make decisions on way back suddenly come back to stare at you. Your children’s art work (very unpractical) which Frans still insists on keeping! Projects never finished. Gadgets with no comprehensible application! Wildlife!111 We harboured so many spiders and ants and wasps and even the remains of a very dead rat!

DSC_0386So much to do, so little timeDSC_0385Camping out in our home.

DSC_0056Sunette and her daughter Suné came regularly to help, encourage, cry and sigh with us.

All in all, this was a very liberating process. I do think that every person needs to be faced with their home’s secret life on a regular basis.
PS. I cannot but make a special mention of the books. We own a HUGE amount of books!! We have given away sets and sets of books to various friends for safe-keeping and still managed to fill probably half the container with books. I wonder what comes first? A love of books or homeschooling???


3 Weke oor !!!

Vandag oor drie weke vertrek ons Kaapstad toe.

Daar is so baie “Laastes” wat nou besig is om te gebeur. Ek probeer om nie te veel te dink nie, dan hoop ek dat ek nie sal tjank nie.

Alhoewel ons beplan om na 3 jaar terug te kom, sal dit nooit weer presies lyk soos NOU nie. Marike sal uit die huis uit gaan en Franci eintlik ook. Karin en Sophia sal hulle sorgvrye laerskooljare agterlaat vir die intense studietyd van Hoërskool en Matriek. Vriendskappe sal anders lyk. ONS gaan anders lyk –  en anders dink. Dit sal baie dom wees om te dink dat ek alles net so kan vasvang en dat ek nie totsiens hoef te sê nie.


Die vraag wat ek deesdae die meeste hoor, is: “Is jy opgewonde?”

My vinnige antwoord is gewoonlik: “Nee…….. Ek weet te veel.”                                                                                   Dit IS snaaks. Ek lag ook elke keer as ek dit sê. Maar eintlik is dit die waarheid.

Ek WAS al op die boot oppad Luderitz, Simonstad, Dasseneiland toe.

Met net ons.

Geen ander kundiges om gou die probleme uit te stryk nie.

Net ons……….. en dit wat ons al geleer het. Frans, ek en by tye ‘n paar baie bang meisiekinders.

Maar ons hoop was nog nooit in die mens en in wat ons kan vermag nie. Ons tuiste is ook nie in hierdie wêreld nie. Dit is nie vir onsself wat ons leef nie. Ons het ‘n Hemelse Vader wat ons nooit uit Sy hand sal laat gaan nie. Maak nie saak wat nie.

My gunsteling verse in die Bybel is nou :

Ps 139:9,10

“If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Thy hand will lead me, And Thy right hand will lay hold of me.”

As daar een ding is wat my WEL opgewonde maak is dit hierdie: Dat ‘n mens op so ‘n Wêreldreis in so ‘n klein seiljag, ‘n mens se afhanklikheid van ‘n Soewereine, Liefdevolle God nie kan vergeet nie!

Mag ons altyd die vrymoedigheid hê om Hom met ander te deel!

The Name Game

The name of our Yacht is SHANG DU.

This was her name when we bought her. The previous owner told us that Shang Du means: “Pleasure Dome.”

“Pleasure Dome”?? Who goes around the world with their four daughters in a boat called PLEASURE DOME???

Our immediate resolve was TO CHANGE THE NAME as soon as possible!


Frans did a search on Shang Du that told us that it was the name of Kublai Khan’s Summer Palace. Also referred to as Xanadu. Coleridge wrote a poem, calling this palace a pleasure-dome….  So, not really, directly, meaning pleasure dome.

AND the name sort of grew on us.

In the meantime, we continued the “Name Game”

Our “Rubber Duck” , to rhyme with Shang Du, is called “Shampoo”.

Our Larger “Rubber Duck” for use in more hectic conditions, is called (of course) “Conditioner”

We also have a “Wind Vane” ** that earned the name “Slim Gert” on our trip to Luderitz last December.

Our “Autopilot”** did NOT work going up to Luderitz, so was promptly named “Dom Gert”. On the way back, it performed really admirably and was re-named “Sterk Gert”


** See our “List of Definitions” for more information 

Five weeks to go…..

musieknoteOn the Twelfth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me……musieknote

  • 51 rolls of toiletpaper,
  • 14 tubes of toothpaste,
  • 12 litres of shampoo,
  • 12 litres of conditioner,
  • 3 bottles Milton,
  • 6 kg washing powder,
  • 504 paper handkerchiefs,
  • 110 refuse bags,
  • 10 dishwashing cloths,
  • 5 rolls of cotton,
  • 40 hairpins,
  • 4 liters  of dishwashing liquid

musieknote…and I stuffed it all in my very own yacht!musieknote

These are  only the things that I have already stocked up on. Not the many, MANY others things that I know I have to buy and the things I haven’t even thought of yet.

Every time I push something into a little (or big) hidy-hole, I make a note of what went in and where it went. Things disappear on boats, they really do! Just imagine being halfway to Rio and you need the spare oil filter and you have no idea where to start looking and no wind and huge swells and the boat is rocking madly and no engine – because you need the oil filter and did I mention the boat rocking? (Karin just walked past and confirmed the rocking bit).

Perhaps you could all give some ideas of what you think we should be taking along. That way, we might just cover all our bases : ).Please use the “comments” for this. I will be sure to post some “stocking up” photo’s when the real work starts!

Hair raising story

On our yacht we have 5 females. Females are different to males. They have hair issues.

Here are the  important factors to consider when sailing with hair:

  1. Fresh water is very limited.
  2. The air is very humid. Curly hair easily become dreadlocks.
  3. When sailing, there is a lot of wind. No wind, no sailing.
  4. Swimming and diving happen a lot on a world sailing trip  (or so we’ve been told).

OOOKAAAAAY, sooo. . . .

We, (the females), are all going to cut our hair short. Pixie, boy-cut, short. Short, SHORT!!

Oh wait. No. That’s not entirely true. I, (Mommy dearest), will NOT be cutting my hair. I have promised Daddy dearest to never cut off all my hair again. Guess who will be wearing the dreadlocks?

Anyway, this haircutting exercise (of the Girls) will happen two weeks before we leave.

This is because the ones with the really long hair (Marike, Franci and Sophia), would hate to cut their hair for nothing. They reckon that at two weeks to go we’ll probably really do it. They also hope to entice friends to come and say goodbye before we leave out of curiosity to see the hair : )

The other daughter, Karin, who would  have cut her hair at birth if possible, cannot wait. Unfortunately for her, she has to hang on for the grand finale.

Franci would like to donate her hair for Cancer. Marike is considering selling her hair. She isn’t sure if she’ll be able to, but she will take bids. I on the other hand, have heard that hair makes great stuffing for pincushions – keeps the needles sharp. Time will learn.

In the meantime, I’ll include a BEFORE photo:

GarickvanStaden_Van zyls-88a







Why are we doing this?

It is all the fault of my MOTHER-IN-LAW!!!!

She was born with this “thing” in her system. A little, but far reaching gene called “The Travel Bug”!

It so happens that out of her four sons I just had to choose the one on whom she bestowed this gene in it’s entirety. All of her love for travel and new places, together with the restlessness when she stays put too long, had been inherited by my husband Frans!

Oh, I knew that he wanted to sail around the world before I married him, so cannot plead ignorance. I did think that it was a kind of pipe-dream, that I could deal with this later – much later……… some mystical time in the future.

He kept on talking about it though. We even made a decision to school our children – not having any yet – on the boat. I realized that it was not going to go away and that I, like a submissive wife, better get my head around this.

My way of becoming positive about this was to tell all and sundry that we, as a family, were planning to sail around the world one day. The buzz words being that the youngest child should be around nine. We planned four children and by God’s grace we had our four daughters within 6 years.

It turned out later that it was not entirely my Mother-in-law’s fault but MY OWN doing as well. Years went by in which we were raising our children, establishing our home and happily becoming entrenched in the life of family, Church and friends. We were homeschooling with the intention of sailing, but nothing much else in the area of planning. I firmly believed though, that one day I would be expected to pack up everything and go sailing.

After we bought our yacht, my husband confided that there was a time – see above – when he didn’t think we would still do this. It was only the fact that I went about telling people that we wanted to sail around the world that made him realize he needed to do something about it. If I had known this, I would have kept my mouth firmly shut!!!!

But now, later has arrived, and God willing, we are indeed going sailing!!!

One Month and 17 days……

WOW! Things are really becoming very hectic, very soon.

We have just come back from Cape Town where we spend the last – yes, THE LAST, time on our boat before we go down for the final sail.

We are determined to set sail during the first week in December. However, Charles – our do-everything man on the boat – says otherwise. He is extremely knowledgeable and able in what he does, but we sincerely hope that in this thing he will be wrong. He reckons he has seen many sailors take up to 6 months for that final stage. What Frans says Charles doesn’t take into account is that the last 3 years has been our final stage!!

Marike and Franci have to finish writing their Cambridge Exams and the big packing up of the house still lies ahead!

There really are a million and one things still to attend to and always the nagging feeling that somehow we are forgetting something really huge. We keep counting the children, so I presume it will at least not be one of them.

The one thing still outstanding for the boat is the name. No, we are not changing the original name. It is just that there IS no name on the boat. They have re-painted the boat, but not the name. Special people with special skills have to come and do this, but we have put in our order 🙂





Aan al ons Afrikaanse Vriende en Familie:

Ons dink en leef en raak verdrietig in Afrikaans. Dus sou dit gepas gewees het om ons “Blog” in Afrikaans te bedryf, MAAAR……

Nou het ons soveel goeie pêlle en dierbare vriende en selfs familie wat nie ‘n woord Afrikaans verstaan nie!

Dit beteken dat die hoofdeel van hierdie “Blog” in Engels sal verskyn. Ons weet dat julle almal Engels magtig is – slim soos julle is 🙂 – en daarom sal kan volg wat aangaan.

Ek onderneem wel om elke nou en dan ‘n beriggie in Afrikaans te tik – al is dit net om my eie gevoelens ook ‘n bietjie beter te kan uitdruk.

So, hou gerus hierdie kategorie dop in die toekoms.






The Girls

By God’s amazing Grace, we have four lovely daughters.

Each one with their own unique character and special contribution to the Van Zyl family. To demonstrate their differences, I have only to describe their responses to the whole sailing thing.

When Frans and I  flew down to Cape Town to go and look at a possible yacht, we certainly didn’t know that this would turn out to be THE YACHT. We spend time looking at a few possibilities, but as we moved through Shang Du, we both really liked it. As the girls were back in Gauteng with Grandma, we took some extensive video footage to show them.

As soon as we entered the home, we were badgered into watching the video first thing.

Their reactions to the video were as follows:

Marike, the oldest, just said: “Oh yes!!! buy it!! Let’s go!”

Franci, the conservative one, the saver of all her money, said: “Are you sure?? Can we afford this?? What happens when we are stuck somewhere without money?” “I don’t know. Shouldn’t we perhaps get a Catamaran? Maybe we should think about this a bit longer.”

Karin, sat down, burst into tears and wailed: “I don’t want to sail around the world!!!!”

Sophia, gave a shrug, said “That’s nice, what’s for dinner?”

Since then they have all changed their views to more and less positive as they’ve faced the changes that this would bring in their lives. Some days they loved being part of our strange sailing family, but other days the reality of what they would be leaving behind would really strike home and it would all become overwhelming. Especially for the older ones. Marike will leave at 16, but come back as a 19 year old.

The 3 older girls also had some “activities” that they were worried about. Things that they were not sure that we would be able to do while sailing.

While doing day trips to Dassen Island and around, Marike and Franci waylaid their fears.

Marike managed to bake her Choc-chip Cookies while we were underway even though the boat was doing her merry rocking thing. Sitting flat on the floor in front of the oven, she baked a few oven-loads (the oven is not big), which we proceeded to gobble up before even reaching the Island.

Franci was only worried about schooling. Will she be able to do her schoolwork while the boat is rocking to and thro? She too, proved that this was possible on our trip round to Simon’s Town.

Karin’s fears were the most realistic. She was VERY worried that we would have nothing to eat as she has NEVER seen any of us catch fish anyplace, anywhere!! This was not something our family did (maybe having four daughters had something to do with this). Well, I am glad to say that even her fears were alleviated. We have caught the sum total of two beautiful fish while sailing. A Bonnita around Cape Point, and a Yellowtail on the way to Luderitz. The only reason that we didn’t catch any more fish on that trip, was an unanimous decision not too. Our fishing platform having not been updated yet made the killing really messy 🙂

We love our girls!!


The First Post =)

Welcome everybody! This was our first blog which I put on facebook. I just copied it over to here (Marike)

Hi all! I have decided it’s time to start blogging. Continue reading